The Society of the Spectacle reminded me just how much our society is immersed in a material world. In chapter two, “Commodity as Spectacle,” Debord says, “social space is invaded by a continuous superimposition of geological layers of commodities.” I like the image Debord paints here because it applies to both the visible and digital world. Everyday in the visible and digital world we are inundated with media advertisements encouraging us to buy commodities. In the visible world, billboards on buildings, overhead signs, and busses, and window-shop posters encourage us to obtain certain goods. In the digital world, notifications, advertisements on social media, pop up windows, and emails clutter our screens, distracting us and reminding us that we are missing out on an experience provided by a commodity we don’t have. Debord says that “the spectacle is a view of life materially translated.” In other words, constantly being immersed in the spectacle, whether through media images or physical commodities, causes people to view life through material objects.
This notion of the spectacle creating “geological layers of commodities” in society got me thinking about how certain areas of Los Angeles, the United States, and even the world get more immersed in media images and physical commodities than others. As I said above, people living in areas with more images advertising commodities and services may see their world through a material lens. According to Debord, “The more [man’s] life is now his product, the more he is separated from his life.” Thus, people with this material mindset are more focused on commodities and the way of life they bring, than they are of their own lives. Is it wrong that the spectacle targets certain areas more than others, thus causing the people in these to be more separated from their lives?